Great car for its class; I love it, and so will you!!!
Like many other people I've noticed, I too had some issues with the headlamps. It seems that about every 6 months I had to replace one of the bulbs on my 02 Mazda P5 (this may have had something to do with cold weather though, as I usually replaced the bulbs in the late fall/winter). Time will tell if I have the same issue with the 03 P5.
While the audio system on this 03 may be fine for most, (the spare tire sub woofer and 6 disc changer is quite impressive for a stock system, not to mention the component speaker system in the front (woofer in the door and tweeter up near the side mirror)) anyone considered an amateur audiophile (or more) should consider an after-market upgrade.
I will admit it could be powered a little better, but then again, 130 HP for a 2700 pound car is really quite enough.
I like the cup holders in the 02 Protege better than the 03 (but there are many more upgrades in the 03 that outperform the 02, so the cup holders lose!).
Other than those few VERY MINOR complaints, there is NOTHING to stop me from loving this car! so much that I replaced the totaled one, with another Mazda Protege 5.
OH!!! I do have one more complaint!!!...
They should have NEVER stopped making this car!!!
While I have only had this particular Mazda Protege 5 for about a week (this is my second Protege 5) My first one was a 2002 Protege 5 purchased in 2003. it had 40,000 miles when I bought it, and I proceeded to accumulate 140,000 miles on the car in 4 (that's right, four) years. the ONLY reason I had to get a new one is because the old one was totaled when I drove through a VERY large puddle and got water in the engine.
I NEVER had ANY major mechanical issues with the 02 while I owned it. (until the puddle)
The interior was roomy enough for my family of 4 and all the gear we travel with on weekend and day trips. We even took the car on a 1200 mile (round trip) journey from NY to South Carolina!
Fit and finish are impressive (I love the leather interior)
Handling is unrivaled for its class.
30 MPG is really nice for such a sporty, well handling vehicle.
Power is there when you need it.
I have seen a couple of complaints about some mechanical issues, but the majority of the complaints I have seen were with regard to the DEALERSHIPS. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not confuse a VERY reliable car with a VERY BAD dealership experience... if you have an issue with a dealership, go find a respectable PRIVATE mechanic (yes, they do still exist!!!)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd August, 2007